The ‘Draft Economic Growth Strategy’ for the Harrogate district is the council’s plan for the next 18 years, to support its vision of the area as the best place, to live, work and visit.
The draft strategy’s aim is to both build on existing strengths and address current challenges to achieve a successful and sustainable economic future for the district which is characterised by:
- more higher-value jobs and higher average workplace wages, which will meant that people in the district will have more money to spend
- less need to commute out of the area to take up employment and skills training
- more working-age people being able to afford to buy a house in the district
- a good supply of quality employment space in the right locations, encouraging business growth and inward investment
- good transport and digital infrastructure to support business growth
- an increase in the district’s productivity and GVA – Gross Value Added – which is the measure of goods and services produced in an area
The draft strategy marks a change in approach to supporting a strong local economy by proposing a focus on the key sectors of:
- Creative and digital
- Financial and professional services
- Scientific research and development, and logistics
Securing the support and collaboration of local businesses, partner organisations and other interested parties across the district is central to the successful delivery of the strategy’s aims and the future health of the district’s economy, so the council is now looking for as many views, suggestions and comments as possible on its draft proposals.
Both the draft strategy and the survey are both on the council’s website at www.harrogate.gov.uk/economicgrowthstrategy
Keith Tordoff, Chairman of Nidderdale Chamber of Trade, said: It is better to plan and be prepared even if we are talking about doing it for the next 18 years. Clearly with the speed that technology changes, we need to be prepared for opportunities that undoubtedly will arise for the area and in particular hopefully in Nidderdale.
More people are already working from home and I am sure this will be a trend that gathers even more momentum. We will need improved communications, transport and an infrastructure to be part of that.
There needs to be practical and common sense views put forward by people in business who are already operating and understand how to prepare and plan for the future as they do with their businesses already. It makes sense for the council to liaise and work with business people who already create jobs, support the economy and community.
Nigel Avison is Harrogate Borough Council’s Director of Economy and Culture. He said:
The Harrogate district enjoys a number of important economic strengths that we can build on – such as a well-qualified resident population, a vibrant visitor economy and a long history of successful business start-ups.
However it’s important that we’re not complacent, and that we make plans to address the significant challenges that the district needs to address as it becomes a truly sustainable economy that works for all.
This strategy looks to build on our current working relationship with partners in both the public and private sectors, to create new partnerships with a long term vision to secure powerful economic growth across the district.
The consultation on the Draft Economic Growth Strategy for the Harrogate District runs until 4pm on Friday 5 May 2017.
Harrogate District Chamber chief executive Sandra Doherty said: We frequently liaise with Harrogate Borough Council about the needs of local businesses, representing the views and concerns brought to the chamber by members.
From high quality office accommodation of the right size to the availability of staff from the local area to fill vacancies, we know there will be issues that local businesses want to raise through this survey. This is an ideal opportunity for businesses to give their views directly to the council at a time when they can influence future policy and development.
The Harrogate district has a wealth of ambitious business owners and entrepreneurs. It’s vital that plans for the future enable them to succeed and contribute as much as possible to the local economy, for the benefit of the whole district.